Chapter OneThe Growing Threat
Vicki held tightly to Judd as the Global
Community's Unity Army rumbled through
the streets of Jerusalem. She hoped they were
simply putting their tanks and soldiers into
place, but Carpathia's army could attack at
Vicki had felt a sense of adventure coming
to the Old City. Jamal and Lina, Judd's friends
from a previous trip to Israel, had taken them
in. They had also met an old man named
Shivte and his wife. These rebels were trying
to hold off the GC army-something Vicki
believed was part of biblical prophecy.
But the closer the GC army came and the
more the walls of the underground tunnel
shook, the less excited she became about
being here. They could have stayed in Petra.
Instead, they were in the crosshairs of the
Vicki reminded herself that Jesus would
soon be back to wipe out this army. And she
and Judd had been overwhelmed when thousands
had become believers earlier near the
Temple Mount. Rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah had
given the message of Jesus. Still, the thundering
army sent a shiver through her.
Judd scurried to talk with one of their leaders
and came back a few minutes later. "He
thinks we won't see action until morning. He
wants us to get some rest. Let's head back to
They took a tunnel heading east, passing
rebels armed with Uzis and hand grenades.
Vicki had become as familiar with these
tunnels over the past few months as she had
with their hideout in Wisconsin. Secret
passageways snaked underneath streets and
buildings. Lights clanked on the stone walls
as GC tanks and transport trucks rolled overhead.
A few believers spoke with rebels about
Jesus when they passed, trying to convince
them of the truth, but many fighters didn't
want to hear about the gospel.
"We don't want your blasphemy!" one
rebel yelled at a believer. "Stay away from us!"
Judd peeked through the tunnel opening
and motioned Vicki forward.
By the time they made it safely to Jamal's
apartment, darkness had fallen. Neither Jamal
nor Lina was home. While Judd checked the
computer for the latest troop movement news,
Vicki pulled the curtain back on the window.
"You don't have to check the computer-look
out the window," she said.
They were high enough to see outside the
walls of the Old City. Tanks and large vehicles
were in place. Streetlights cast eerie shadows
on the monstrous army.
"Our people are going up against that?"
"It's not just our people-God's fighting
against the army," Vicki said.
"What does Tsion say about Jerusalem?
Doesn't the Bible predict it's going to fall?"
Vicki nodded and closed the curtain.
"Chang said in his last e-mail that Tsion was
coming here to help bring his fellow Jews
into the kingdom before it was too late.
Tsion believes the Unity Army will capture
many rebels and conquer Jerusalem."
"Are you scared?"
Vicki hugged Judd. "I keep remembering
what you said about sticking together no
matter what. And if we're attacked by the GC,
at least we'll die together."
"I'd rather be alive to see Jesus when he
comes back, but you're right. From here on
out, we stick close."
* * *
Lionel Washington sat on his bed in Petra,
scanning the list of names in his prayer diary.
Many of them were highlighted in yellow
and had the word home written after their
name. Ryan Daley. Pete Davidson. Mark
Eisman. Chloe Williams. It won't be long until
I see all of these people, he thought.
He wasn't as sure about his other friends
on the list. Rayford Steele. Buck Williams.
Tsion Ben-Judah. Lionel knew from Chang
Wong that Buck and Tsion were in Jerusalem.
And Rayford Steele had returned to Petra in
a chopper and was probably spending time
with his grandson, Kenny. But what would
happen in the morning? Would Jesus come
back before the GC attacked? Already the
Unity Army had Petra surrounded.
What if Tsion is wrong about Petra? What if
Jerusalem stands and Petra falls?
Lionel pushed the questions from his
mind and prayed over each name. It had
been more than seven years since the disappearances
and the moment he had finally
cried out to God. He had come far in those
seven years, and now he was near the end.
Lionel didn't know the exact time of Jesus'
return, but surely it would happen in the next
day or two. What that moment would be like
was anyone's guess, and Lionel couldn't wait.
Zeke called him on the radio. The burly
man had asked Lionel to be part of a team
that gathered weapons, ammunition, and
even uniforms from fallen GC troops. "I'm
out here taking a look at the edge of the
camp. You should see this."
"When do you want me down there?"
"Before daybreak, unless the attack comes
earlier, which I don't think will happen. Get
a little sleep. Then head out."
Lionel had felt left out of some of the best
assignments since coming to Petra and was
glad Zeke had included him in this one. Now
that he was close to actually going to the
front line, Lionel felt unsure. Would God
He lay back on his bed and tried to fall
asleep by thinking of all the people he had
met in the past seven years. Carl Meninger
came to mind. What a great story he had-becoming
a believer while working for the
Global Community. Carl was now a vital
part of the Tribulation Force in South
Carolina and had seen hundreds of people
believe the truth about God since Lionel and
Judd had last seen him.
Lionel recalled others. Conrad Graham
and Darrion Stahley, who were in Illinois,
awaiting the return of Jesus with a group of
inner-city believers. The stories they sent via
e-mail were exciting and a little scary.
Lionel and the others had grieved the loss
of the Young Trib Force Web site to the Global
Community, but Chang Wong had worked
his magic and was able to automatically direct
anyone who logged on to Tsion Ben-Judah's
Web site to a section run by the kids.
Kids, Lionel thought. We haven't been kids
since this whole thing started. The disappearances
had forced them to grow up fast.
Lionel tossed and turned on his cot for
more than an hour.
Finally, he got up, dressed, and went to
* * *
Conrad Graham watched the sun move
toward the horizon from a basement window
of an abandoned house in Palos Hills,
Illinois. He and the other members of the
Wisconsin group had finally settled into several
homes near Enoch Dumas, the shepherd
of a growing group of Christ followers from
many different backgrounds. Enoch spoke
with a Spanish accent, which Conrad loved.
One night a Latino woman who had lived in
an abandoned laser-tag park told her story.
The next night it was an African-American
man who admitted to everything from grave
robbing to murder. Kids from the street and
drug addicts all had stories of how God had
reached out to them.
Conrad had been able to stay with Enoch
himself and considered it as big a privilege as
being in Petra. They had the chance to bring
people to God every day. Though many had
cautioned them to be more careful, Enoch
and his followers wouldn't pass up a chance
to help people receive Christ.
Conrad's mattress lay in Enoch's musty
basement. The past few nights had been cold,
so Conrad had given his best blanket to
Shelly, who lived about three blocks away. It
was shortly after Mark's death that Shelly and
Conrad had renewed their friendship. Something
Mark had said to Shelly caused her to
give Conrad another chance after a bad
disagreement in Wisconsin. They weren't
going to get married anytime soon, but the
fact that they could be friends gave Conrad
"Don't suppose we'll get much shut-eye
tonight, eh?" Enoch said, walking into the
"I've waited years for this," Conrad said.
"No way I'm going to sleep through it."
Enoch nodded. "I know what you mean.
But I don't think it'll happen until morning."
"Why is that? Doesn't the Bible say no one
knows when Christ will return?"
"True. But eight in the morning our time
will be the seven-year anniversary of the signing
of the treaty between Carpathia and
Israel. To the minute."
Enoch's love of the Bible was contagious.
Since coming to the group, Conrad found
himself reading more, taking notes, and
seeing the Bible come alive in new ways.
"You think it's going to happen at eight
tomorrow morning?" Conrad said.
"Don't know for sure, but it's as good a
guess as anyone's."
Enoch flipped on a small radio and tuned
to the latest news. New Babylon, the gleaming
jewel of Nicolae Carpathia, had been
wiped out in less than an hour. Though the
GC had tried to put a positive spin on the
worldwide chaos, Conrad knew from reading
e-mails from Chang Wong in Petra that there
were more suicides now than ever before.
The news reporter quickly turned to the
Middle East where Nicolae Carpathia readied
his troops. A vast army was nearing Jerusalem
and had spread across the nearby desert
to Petra. "An almost innumerable legion of
tanks, artillery, and soldiers has assembled
here to wage what should be a very quick
end to a pesky enemy."
The reporter played a clip of Carpathia
giving orders. It was clear that Carpathia
wanted to level Petra and overrun Jerusalem.
"The only logical response to such an overwhelming
military campaign is surrender,"
the reporter said, "but no one who has studied
the history of the Judahites and Israelis
over the last seven years believes that will
"The one who should be surrendering is
Carpathia," Enoch said. "God's going to
make that clear real soon."
"I can't wait," Conrad said.
* * *
Judd found sleep impossible and stayed up
watching the GC troops. He heard Vicki's
breathing from the other room and was
grateful she was getting some rest.
Judd felt concerned for Jamal and Lina,
wondering what had happened to them. The
last he had seen them, they were trying to
convince several Israelis about Jesus.
At nearly 3 a.m. they crept inside,
surprised to see Judd awake. "You won't
believe who we saw at Shivte's home," Lina
said, wide-eyed. "Tsion Ben-Judah. He was
there with an American-"
"Buck Williams?" Judd said. He had seen
the two together earlier at the Temple Mount.
"Yes! To see the teacher in person was such
an honor," Lina said.
"And to see his commitment to the fight is
even better," Jamal said. "He is not just here
to give us moral support. He has a gun and is
ready to use it."
Lina smiled and shook her fists like a
child. "But we haven't told you the best
news. Shivte and his sons were at the Wailing
Wall this evening. They heard Dr. Ben-Judah
and have believed in Messiah! All that praying
we did for them, and now they are true
It was all Judd could do not to rush to
Shivte's house to see Buck and Tsion, but he
didn't want to wake Vicki and there was no
way he was going to leave without her.
When Lina left the room, Jamal spoke
softly. "Shivte's sons told me they believe the
GC will come from the northwest and try to
get through the Damascus Gate. We'll leave
for there within the hour."
"Couldn't the GC come through just about
any gate?" Judd said.
"Perhaps, but the Damascus Gate is where
they need us most. I think you should leave
your wife here and come with me."
Judd shook his head. "No, we've both
"This is no place for women. There will be
much bloodshed. The GC is bent upon the
destruction of every rebel living here in the
"Vicki and I feel God has brought us here
for a reason," Judd said. "I can't leave her
Jamal patted Judd's shoulder. "I understand,
and I wish you success. When my wife
returns, don't tell her where I've gone. Come
to the Damascus Gate as soon as possible."
He slipped out the door.
Jamal was gone a few moments when Lina
returned with a sackful of supplies. She
looked at Judd, then at the door, and burst
into tears. "Tell me where he's gone! I've lost
a son and a daughter to the GC! I will be
with my husband at this critical hour."
"She's right," Vicki said, walking into the
Judd nodded. "Let's get our things. We're
going to the Damascus Gate."